Awesome Stories 300- New Year’s Edition

This week Awesome Stories brings you stories to start your new year with a flame in your heart and a smile on your face.

University of the PeopleUniversity of the People, Awesome Stories

University of the People is aiming to change the way we learn and educate people. They’ve created the first accredited, tuition-free university that offers both 2 and 4-year degree programs. Their focus is mainly on computer science, business, and healthcare to ensure that students attain viable skills for in-demand fields. They believe that education can transform people and the world, helping to create both peace and economic development. The university is supported by grants, passionate volunteers, open-source courses, and businesses who want to transform education. Students are only asked to pay a $100 processing fee for each course exam. And recently, they’ve offered 500 Syrian refugees totally free access to their university! Power to the people.

Solar Success

According to the latest research, solar energy now produces 14 times as much energy as is required to produce and install. This means that solar energy is actually more efficient than oil and gas. This increase in the efficiency of solar energy (and it’s getting better as solar panel and battery efficiencies increase) marks the beginning of the end for fossil fuels. And many of us would say good riddance. Fossil fuels have allowed for cheap and easy booms in manufacturing, industrialization, and economic growth. But the environmental costs have been huge, especially as the industry has turned toward offshore oil deposits, shale oil, and fracking. Solar energy is not a complete panacea either; it uses harsh chemicals and the mining of rare earth metals to produce the panels, but researchers are experimenting with less toxic processes and panels made from carbon, graphene, and other more common elements. Shine on sweet solar!

Healing with ArtBuddhas on Death Row, Awesome Stories

Many people have used art to heal and grow, but this is a unique twist on using art. It started with a Finish student, Maria, reaching out to an inmate on death row through a prison pen pal program. Maria Jain reached out to Moyo partly because of their common appreciation for yoga, art, and meditation. As the letters and relationship unfolded, Maria had the inspiration to create an art show with Moyo’s art and call it Buddhas on Death Row. Moyo’s journey as a person and artist is quite moving. He decided he wanted to learn to read and write, which grew into writing poetry and finally painting to better express himself. Then he found a book that opened his perspective to using art to heal and uplift others. He started painting Buddhas and using his time and art to reach out to others with the intent to think, live, and be a better person.

Delivering Kindness

When this couple retired, Peter Grazier and Nance Cheifetzย decided to buy a VW camper and focus on acts of kindness. They bought a charming 1990 VW Westfalia (just like the one I used to have!) called Bodhiย which they decorated with kindness slogans. What’s amazing is they’ve sold all their possessions and focus solely on giving and having fun. Watch the video for a peek at a delightfully unique way to celebrate retirement. I have a similar idea to buy a van and travel the country, offering labor in exchange for a place to park and camp. Can you say travel itch? ย ๐Ÿ™‚

What do you want to create with your life? Let’s make 2017 an intentional year full of love and kindness. ย 


50 thoughts on “Awesome Stories 300- New Year’s Edition

  1. Brad I can not think of a better way to begin 2017 than with acts of kindness and Love.. Another wonderful selection of awesome stories… And good to see how solar power is now becoming so much more efficient. Wonderful that top story offering 500 free placements to Syrian refugees.. Wonderful .. As are those acts of kindness in the VW.. and the amazing paintings..

    Wishing you a wonderful Happy New Year.. I know it will be Awesome.. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Hugs Sue

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I remember a family visit to our nation’s capital a few years ago. We visited all the techie and/or scientific museums – Air & Space, Smithsonian, etc. I have been to D.C. numerous times in my life, and I am not proud to admit that I had never been inside the National Gallery of Art. It transformed me.

    The beauty, the history, and the emotion of the works themselves living on through the eyes of the artists that produced them moved me in a more profound way than I had expected. It actually healed a part of me that I didn’t even realize needed mending.

    I can relate in some ways to Maria’s passion, the way she took something small that she believed in, and then taking one little step at a time, helped it evolve into something so much bigger than she may have first imagined. Every moment of every day is like a tiny stepping stone to the next path on our journey. We just need to summon the courage to use it, and keep moving forward ๐Ÿ™‚

    I was staring at the acoustic guitar resting against the wall in my closet last night and felt “guilty” for leaving it sit unused for so long. Then, I thought – The pen is my instrument, the words are my chords, and the stories are my music. As for me, I want to create connection through shared inspiration. A wonderful post Brad, thanks for sharing and best wishes for an inspired 2017 filled with good intentions!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you Dave. I love how passionate you are about life, family and writing. I hate to admit I haven’t been to the National Gallery of Art and I grew up in the DC area. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Next time I visit family I will go! To an intentional year lived with gusto!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. There is ALL KINDA GOOD THINGS in this post! I clicked on all the links to find out more. The University of the People!? And excess solar energy!? And the kindness van!? The world really does have shining lights, doesn’t it? It’s not all bad at all – there are MANY good things happening. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for sharing this!!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Wonderful New Year edition, Brad! I like all the stories, but one that stood out was the “kindness acts”. It is obvious from the video that kindness makes people happy – both the givers and the receivers โค Happy 2017 to you Brad!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Brad,
    Happy New Year, 2017! Do you think you might travel in a van like this? It’s very reassuring to experience the love that already exists on the planet. We are infinitely loved by each other, it would seem; and I believe that that is the real truth that you are reminding us of here! ALoha, Ka

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for asking about van travel Ka. I did enjoy it in my 30s, and probably would enjoy it again. There was great joy in seeing beautiful places and connecting with people from a wide open place. Yes, we’re really all wanting or giving love in our choices. Aloha and hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. It’s nice to hear about the possibilities in this article ”Awesome Stories 300- New Yearโ€™s Edition”. Can’t wait for next years edition.


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